Rescue without reservations

Pakistan faces the worst tragedy of its existence. With almost 50 per cent of its landscape under deluge and more than 15 million people displaced, the challenge is too enormous to be dealt with statistically.

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Published: Sat 21 Aug 2010, 10:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:35 PM

What bothers most is the poor and inappropriate rescue mechanism that is under way on the part of the government, which apparently seems to be more concerned about painting a tragic picture for seeking international aid and assistance. Perhaps this is why the United Nations in a somewhat undiplomatic utterance aired the feeling that owing to the stigma of corrupt practices associated with Pakistan, especially in dispensing with international monetary assistance, it is finding it increasingly difficult to mobilise aid organisations to donate generously. This real-politik flipside of floods and destruction will go a long way as Pakistan struggles to rebuild itself.

And now it seems a vested agenda is rapidly creeping in. The reservations expressed on behalf of Western countries, especially the United States, that pro-Taleban elements were trying to exploit the rising anger to promote their cause is worrisome. This comes close on a stream of pledges of more funds for the flood-drowned country. Any strings attached with aid and relief provisions will result in more miseries. Practically, there is no criterion to determine the affiliation of generous hands and hearts that are working day and night for providing relief to the needy, and it would be unwarranted to read too much of politics and ideology in it. The 2005 earthquake in Pakistan is a case in point. It was officially acknowledged that Taleban and Jihadi elements were the first to reach the people with food and supplies, but that didn’t lead to Talebanisation of the region. Moments of crises and trial should not be parenthesized with ifs and buts, as it would lead to further marginalisation of the society, which is already reeling under the menace of terrorism and abject poverty.

Millions of dispossessed cannot wait for the long and tiring bureaucratic-cum-diplomatic enunciations to unveil. Feeding and sheltering more than 10 million people, who have lost their cattle, homes and belongings, is a global challenge. Moreover, the destruction of infrastructure in the form of roads, bridges and other communication channels, along with the swept-away cash crops on the entire Indus River belt, has pushed the country deep in socio-economic chaos and crisis. Pakistan with its inadequate resources is not in a position to face this human and climatic disaster on its own. Notwithstanding foreign aid, the need of the hour is to mobilise local and political synergies. This is where the lax is being felt, starkly and evidently.

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